Thursday, April 15, 2004

The Lumber Puppies

Those of us in Minnesota aren't all that use to stellar professional sports performances. The ViQueens have been teasing us for years. Great teams, great talent, but no clutch! The No Stars had to change their name to just Stars, and the move to Dallas, before that franchise was able to capture the cup. The Twinkies are the anomaly here, having captured the big 'W' in 1987, and then a worst to first ride to the top again in the early 90's.

The 'Puppies', however, have performed down to the level of any Minnesota team. Always good enough to watch, great enough to win, but fail and fade miserably in the playoffs.

Last night may have changed all that. The mighty Timberwolves went into last night’s match-up riding an 8 game winning streak. But breathing down their neck was the Spurs, notching 10 in a row on their own. The winning streak for the Puppies didn’t seem to mean anything at this point, for tonight was a must win. The 'W' would clinch the #1 seed, and a Nugget team in the first round. A loss could drop them as low as 4 on the seed list.

It wasn't even close. The Puppies dominated right out of the gate. They lead by as many as 30 in the second half. The 17 point spread at the end was as misleading as a Bush intelligence briefing on Iraqi WMD's. The second stringers were out there, as the MV3 (Garnett, Cassell, Sprewell) were resting up for Sunday. This team showed it was more then just winning, it was about making a statement and grabbing the momentum going into the second season.

I've lived in Minnesota all my life, and have learned long ago not to overestimate any of our sport's franchises. But this feels a lot like 1987. The first time is the sweetest, and if we can get that first round monkey off our back, I don't think there is anyone who can stop us.


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